Geomorphic Analysis of Soils
Briget C. Doyle
College of Charleston
This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process.
This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: May 2, 2008
Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications
Students will sample and describe a series of soils in the field. Data gathered in the field will be used to compare sampled soils to mapped soils and local soil development.
Undergraduate (sophomore/junior) elective course in geomorphology
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
-Basic understanding of soil formation processes
-basic understanding of soil horizions
How the activity is situated in the course
Stand-alone field exercise
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- sampling and describing soils in the field
- reading and interpreting NRCS soil data
- reading and locating points on an aerial photograph
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- relating sampled soils to topography
- relating sampled soils to degree of soil development
- relating sampled soils to past and present land use
Other skills goals for this activity
- preparing a technical write up of the soils sampled, their description, and how the soils relate geomorphically to other soils in the area
Description of the activity/assignment
Students are taken to a former plantation along a tidal river near Charleston, SC. The students are then shown how to sample and describe soils using an push-auger sampler, similar to those used in industry. After the demonstration, the students are taken to various locations on the plantation, including upland areas, wetlands, former agricultural areas, lowlands, and tidal marshes, to sample and make field descriptions of the various soils encountered. Students describe depths to horizons, soil color using Munsell Color Charts, soil texture, and any other pertinent properties. Students then prepare a formal technical write-up on the soils, their distribution, and how their sampling results compare to published soil data for the area.
Designed for a geomorphology course
Uses online and/or real-time data
Determining whether students have met the goals
Observation in the field of sampling skills, soil description, and field note taking is considered along with the content, analysis, and quality of the final write-up.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.
Download teaching materials and tips
aerial image of site for students to map sample locations
Aerial image overlaid with NRCS soil map